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A garden is only as good as the ground that it's planted in. Discussion forum for the many ways to improve the soil where we plant our gardens.

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Old June 11, 2019   #1
cjp1953
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Default Adding Straw mulch

I went out and bought a couple bales of straw to use for mulch and keep the moisture in the ground but this morning the temperature got down to 48 degrees.Soil temperature is now 58 degrees.It's going to be sunny and 75 today,I'm hoping it warms the soil back up into the mid 60's before I add it to the garden.I did spread a layer of Alfalfa pellets just before it rained to start the breaking down process,The worms are going to love that but it's been a very wet spring.
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Old June 11, 2019   #2
PlainJane
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Straw was the mulch of choice in my New England garden and yes, worms absolutely loved it.
Plus it was inexpensive and only needed renewing once or twice over the growing season. The trick was to keep field mice from nesting in the spare bales, lol.
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Old June 11, 2019   #3
cjp1953
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I have the spare bale in the garage covered with a tarp.Yes I agree but as long as they stay in the garage and not the house I can live with that.lol
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Old June 11, 2019   #4
PaulF
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A layer or two of newspaper covered by 6-8 inches of straw is my mulch of choice for the garden. After trying many other styles and forms of mulching, this is the one I have used for many years. At the end of the season it all gets tilled into the soil to add to the organics.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #5
cjp1953
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I mow my straw down before I plant my winter cover crop in the fall.I also do no till.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #6
jtjmartin
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I just picked up some straw. Usually I gather enough oak leaves but all the extra rain this year caused rapid decomp.

A bale of straw here in Virginia at Lowes/Home Depot runs around $6. What are others paying?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #7
brownrexx
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I buy mine from a local farmer fro $5 per bale and I try to pick up free ones from decorations after Thanksgiving.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #8
PaulF
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Local source $5/bale; hardware store $7/bale.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #9
jtjmartin
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I'll keep an eye out for local - and also post Halloween/Thanksgiving. Thanks.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #10
brownrexx
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I got a HUGE commercial bale for free this year. It was formerly used for target practice with bow and arrows. It doesn't matter if it has been wet but this one was packed so tightly that is is dry in the middle.

20190328_102029 by Brownrexx, on Flickr
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #11
habitat_gardener
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I paid $4 from a farm but it’s $7 from someone in my neighborhood who brings a trailer full for anyone who wants them. It’s worth the extra.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #12
cjp1953
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Added my 3rd bale today as it's composting down really well.I had spread alfalfa pellets down then added my straw with the first two bales.But I have to say bales are not as large as they were 15 years ago when I first started doing it.My son in laws stepdad runs a horse farm and gave me a bale yesterday and it did seem larger than the other 2 I bought.

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #13
upcountrygirl
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Our problem has been the opposite. One extreme heat wave has already wiped out half of the tomato plants. We're a couple of days into another one and lots of the plants don't look too good. We also haven't had any rain in over a week. The ground is hot and hard. Do y'all think a good watering and then laying down mulch would help the plants to live and produce if we're in for a abnormally hot summer?
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #14
jtjmartin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upcountrygirl View Post
Our problem has been the opposite. One extreme heat wave has already wiped out half of the tomato plants. We're a couple of days into another one and lots of the plants don't look too good. We also haven't had any rain in over a week. The ground is hot and hard. Do y'all think a good watering and then laying down mulch would help the plants to live and produce if we're in for a abnormally hot summer?
Yes, a heavy mulch will do wonders for your soil and plants. I keep my soil covered all year long. The only time it's left uncovered is for seeds to sprout.

I use a lot of oak leaves but have also used fresh wood chips, mulch, pine needles and straw. They all work well.

I encourage you to search for what Bill (B54red) writes about keeping tomatoes producing during high heat. I've learned a lot from him about bleach spray, grafting, lean n lower, pest management.

Last edited by jtjmartin; 2 Weeks Ago at 08:40 PM.
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